Last Friday I spent the last two hours of work google stalking the man I loved for 3 years, as I had, rather out of the blue, become obsessed with finding out if he had gotten back together with his ex-girlfriend. Luckily his internet presence is minimal, and I found nothing, except a current photo proving that he is just as handsome as ever. Barf. But I was left wondering why I was spurred to even look him up in the first place.
He and I first became friends in 2007 back when I was a self-hating Fattie. From our first real conversation I was completely smitten. Even though we worked in the same building, our friendship was pretty slow moving. Then he started sending me gifts of burned CDs delivered to my desk by his work study students and coming to visit me at least once a day, and I thought, "Oh, man. He likes me." I couldn't believe it. I was so into this dude that I lost all appetite and could hardly sleep. I became suddenly tranquil about my own singleness because I was so convinced it would end. But nothing happened. Months later, he ended up fooling around with a friend of mine, which was, I suppose, his way of telling me he wasn't interested. Or something. I heaped all the hatred and anger I could onto my body, telling myself he didn't want to date me because I was fat.
Then in 2008 I joined Weight Watchers. I like to think I lost weight for, what I perceived was, my health, but a part of me was also convinced if I could lose enough weight he would love me. That my body was the only obstacle to us being together. Not his emotional unavailability, not his inability to see my worth as a partner or a woman, not his investment in how things look versus how things feel, no, my body was clearly the primary deterrent.
And I lost a crap ton of weight. I had sex for the first time with some random dude and felt sexually appealing and amorous in its aftermath. Then, one night in the summer of 2009 I stayed at his house in his bed. Nothing happened, but we slept really close. I thought, this is it. But, of course, it wasn't. He didn't talk to me for a month after that. An appropriate amount of time to let me know that sleeping in the same bed meant so little to him that he wasn't even thinking of me, let alone wanting to call me. And this is how it went for the next year. Physical closeness followed by weeks or months of silence. I told myself my body just wasn't thin enough yet. That I had to keep working. The problem was still my body. Not his loneliness and willingness to use me for physical affection, not my idealization of him as a partner and person, not my inability to confront him and say, "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH US?!" No. The problem was still that I wasn't thin enough and that my body was shameful and unattractive to men.
He moved south for a job in the summer of 2010. Our contact was sporadic after his departure. I was in the process of gaining weight back by this time, in the midst of feeling more betrayed by my body than I ever had before. In 2011 he and I had a falling out, and I felt the need to insist he never contact me again, a decision I still stand by.
It's been almost a year since we interacted. And yet, for some reason I google stalked him, and in the process reawakened all those old, shitty feelings that my body is never, and will never be good enough for love. But there was a new feeling too: the feeling that the price I pay for loving my body as it is is the love of a man. That to exist in my current body is to be unlovable. It's a common thought in any woman's mind I'm sure, so common and commonly accepted that it often feels like a sad, sad truth.
As a 30-year-old (I'm 30!), single, woman who identifies as fat, I feel as though I am often put in a precarious emotional situation. I am constantly thrust into social situations where people say things like, "You look good! Have you lost weight?" Our culture's idea of fat-as-unattractive permeates even the most mundane of social interactions. And then I have to go home and talk to myself about this idea's untruth, talk to myself about the system of attractiveness that keeps women slaves to their appearance, keeps them snarking on their own bodies and the bodies of others. I envy the fat women who have husbands and boyfriends if only because they have simply to get into bed, allow their lovers to touch them, to be affirmed in their body's base attractiveness, while those of us who are single have to content ourselves with masturbation and positive self-talk. "I am a sexual being. My body does not intrinsically exclude me from sexuality."
I suppose I could end this blog with the actual truth. I could spout off about the complexity of attraction or the effect one's confidence has on sexual desirability. But really what I want to do is punch that dude until he falls over, and, as I stand triumphantly over him, say, "You missed out on something pretty awesome, mother fucker." And then crouch down and whisper in his ear, "Cause what I got? Oh, honey. It is so. fucking. good."
Or something like that.